Aug. 23, 2018
When the class of 2022 arrives on the Saint Vincent College campus Aug. 24 they will begin a five-week orientation program designed to ease the transition from high school to college life with one of the most lengthy programs in the country.
“Our orientation program will have a variety of events which will be spread over a month’s time,” explained Deanna Wicks, assistant director of campus life, who oversees the student-planned program. “With the five-week program of orientation events, Saint Vincent has one of the longer and most unique programs in the area. We want to take the time to ensure that all new students get a solid start, both academically and socially, here in the Saint Vincent community. These orientation events and activities focus on student success.”
The transition to college life at Saint Vincent begins the moment freshmen set foot on campus. “New students and their families experience our hospitality – one of the most important characteristics of this Catholic, Benedictine college of which we are most proud,” Wicks continued. “As in past years, each arriving vehicle will be greeted by enthusiastic upperclass orientation committee volunteers who provide valet baggage service to the residence hall rooms, a longstanding tradition most appreciated by family members who might otherwise expect to be making repeated trips to unload books, clothes, computers and other essentials. The orientation committee at Saint Vincent takes pride in helping others during the move-in process.”
Saint Vincent freshmen will move into one of the 21 “pods” in Saint Benedict Hall, an all-freshman residence hall on campus. A pod is a group of 10 to 12 rooms that share lounge areas and bathrooms. Students will begin classes three days later on Aug. 27.
Among the social events planned this fall are some that have been held annually for years such as a graffiti dance (students autograph T-shirts) and a weekend mystery trip (no one knows the final destination except the bus driver and the advisers).
Some activities sound ominous but aren’t. Pod Wars bring students together for friendly competitions that provide bonding and fun with themes such as human battleship, sand castle building competition, scavenger hunt and an ultimate finish finale.
Other planned activities include a trip to the Animal Encounter at Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, Gateway Clipper Night, Sports Night, a Pig Roast and Luau, a Singing Bee and many other fun and exciting activities to introduce classmates.
Saint Vincent Orientation also includes a big brother/big sister program that pairs every new student with an upperclass mentor, an academic orientation and freshman seminar, meetings on career planning, drug and substance abuse education, personal safety and Benedictine values and an online parent program.
Orientation ends Oct. 5 with a celebration of Saint Vincent College Bearcat mascot Vinny’s birthday when the winners of pod wars are crowned.
Seven upperclass students are serving as volunteer leaders of the orientation program’s committee of more than 130 members, including Lindsey Kampas, a senior chemistry major from Elizabeth; Kyle Ward, a senior psychology major from McKeesport; Stephanie Mitchell, a senior early childhood education major from Carmichaels; Harry Hiles, a junior biology major from Isabella; Casey Kalp, a junior integrated science - allied health major from Mount Pleasant; Michael DeSantis, a senior communication major from Pittsburgh (15241); and Kolony Miller, a junior English major from Latrobe.
Photo: Orientation Team Leaders from left to right: Lindsey Kampas, Kyle Ward, Stephanie Mitchell, Harry Hiles, Casey Kalp, Michael DeSantis and Kolony Miller.